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Three Hiking Trails from Lhasa to Tsurphu Monastery and Yangpanchen

Just as the saying goes: “in Northern Tibet, places have no names, while all living creatures are equal.” Even today, northern Tibet remains a land of unknown and mystery. This trek will take you to the hinterland of Tibet. Sample its soaring snow peaks, scale its rugged valleys and mountainsides, face eye-opening wildlife eye to eye, immense into its resplendent monasteries.

Route: Tsurpu Monastery—Luobulin Fortress—Small Lakeside, Him Pull—Bartso—Duojilin—Yangpanchen

This route is well-developed and ranked one of China top 20 hiking trails.
lhasa tsurphu yangpanchen hiking map    Yangpanchen, also known as Yangbajing                     click map to enlarge

Deep Chubu Valley, Chang Tang Reserve, Alpine meadows, spectacular Nyenchen Tanglha Mountain, rainbow-hued wild blossoms, hot spring, innocent and warmhearted local Tibetans.

Hiking starts from Tsurphu Monastery Ends at: Yangbanchen
Total Length: 220 km ( Lhasa --Tsurphu Monastery: 70km Tsurphu Monastery--Yangpanchen: 60km Yangpanchen--- Lhasa:90km)

Hiking Time: 4 to 7 days

Best Hiking Season: March Through Late October

Hiking Difficulty Ratings:☆☆☆

Max Elevation:5020m

Rate of Happiness:☆☆☆

Iconic Sights:

(1)Tsurphu Monastery is the birthplace of the Reincarnation System of the Living Buddha. By now, over 300 monks live here. This over 800-year-old spiritual hub still pulsates with religious activities. It is a walled museum of Tibetan Buddhism. A silver Buddha Statue is an invaluable treasure. Rumors had it that after its completion, this Buddha floated in middle air for 7 days.
tsurphu monastery
Tsurphu Monastery, also known as Chubu Temple (click map to enlarge)

A promenade along the Tsuphu River promises a visual feast to your eyes. Have more time to idle away? Do not miss the sky burial ground and meditation caves nearby.
Tsurphu Monastery has two magical hot springs: Zerequmi(则热曲米) and Jiagaqumi(加嘎曲米). The former can heal acne and the latter can help you acclimate to Tibet. Zerequmi is not for drinking. You need to present Hada to it before cupping spring to wash your face. Jiagequmi is for drinking.

Naga Village and Nanba Village dotting Tsurphu Valley are famous for 300 years plus Tibetan opera troupes. During the Shoton Festival, you can see their performances.
tsurphu monasterytsurphu monastery
tsurphu monasterytsurphu monastery
tsurphu monastery tibettsurphu monastery tibet
tsurphu monastery tibettsurphu monastery tibet

Fee: RMB 20
Open: 9:00-14:00
Get in: Take bus from a Hutong Alleway 200m west of the Jokhang Monastery between 7:00 to 8:00. It departs when fully seated. Fee: RMB15 It returns at 15:00. If you miss the bus, walk from Tsurphu Monstery to the Qingzang Highway and hitchhiking to Lhasa.

(2)Yangpanchen Hot Spring (Yangbajin Geothermy)
: Countless hot springs in Yangpanchen (91km northwest of the downtown) betray the true identity of Tibet: a big boiling kettle. This flat basin cradles at the foot of snow mountains average at 5500 to 6000m plus. A peculiar coexistence of modern glaciers and steamy hot spring endows Yangpachen with irresistible charm.
/lhasa tsurphu yangpanchen hiking map
Yangpanchen, also known as Yangbajing (click map to enlarge)

Yangpanchen concentrates the biggest number of hot springs across China. It spots the hottest hot spring in China. In addition, intermittent or pulsating hot springs also overflow here. It also houses the biggest geothermal power station in China. Yangpanchen is at its best at morning. The creamy white mist hangs over those hot spring wells and creates an otherworldly paradise.
yangpanchen hot spring

If lucky, you can see hot spring blast into the middle air, which is spectacular.
It is a romantic experience to soak in an open air hot spring, and be enchanted by the snow peaks in the distance.

This well-developed tourist area offers many dining & accommodation & shopping options. Two highways also connect it with the rest of the country. For those short in time, it well worth a stopover because of its convenient location near Lhasa. If you are looking for value experience and serenity, there are better options.

(3) Chang Tang Reserve:
Home to alpine wildlife such as Tibetan antelopes (over 70, 000) and untamed yaks, this reserve occupying half of Tibet, is the second largest nature reserve in the world.
chang tang nature reserve

Route A 4 days

D1.Lhasa——Tsurphu Monastery

Jokhang Monastery to Tsurphu Monastery by car(3 hours)---our trek begins at Tsurphu Monastery

See: streams and meadows Do: deposit our luggage

Many people camp at the backyard of Tsurphu Monastery and rent a horse& guide for the following 4-day trekking.

D2.A small lake小湖——Bartso巴错

Brief of Schedule
Finish breakfast, follow the long winding valley to Sara Pass elevated at 5300m. At noon, relish in the sweeping panoramic view. Camp at Bacuo at night. Enjoy bonfire party, delicious dinner and marvel at the snow-capped peaks silhouetted against a blue sky.

D3 Bartso巴错---Duojilin多吉林

Traverse the extensive grassland. Camp at a temple, have dinner and sleep.

D4: Duojilin多吉林---Yangpanchen羊八井

Pack after breakfast. Leave at 10am. Reach Yangbajing at noon. Soak in a hot spring. Return at Lhasa at 18:00.
hiking lhasa tsurchu monastery yangpanchen route A

Route B 4 days

D1:Lhasa-Nainang Temple(乃囊寺)- Tsurphu Monastery (70 kilometers)

D2: Tsurphu Monastery –Leding(勒定) – hiking for 6 hours---Mount Lhasala(拉萨拉山脚)(5300m)

D 3: Mount Lhasala(拉萨拉山脚)—Bartso (巴措)—hiking for 6.5hours---Tajun(塔峻)

D4: Tajun---hiking--Duojielin Monastery(hiking finishes here)---Yangbajing---15km---Yangbajing Town----Lhasa
lhasa tsurphu monastery yangpanchen hiking map

Route C 7 Days

D1 Lhasa Airport Stay overnight

D2 Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery and Barkhor Street Stay in Lhasa during night

D3 Lhasa to Tsurphu Monastery

Be transported to Tsurphu Monastery by car in 2 hours. Elevation: 4480m. Acclimatize yourself to Tibet. Visit Tsurphu Monastery. Camp at the backyard of Tsurphu Monastery.

D4 Tsurphu Monastery to Leten, trekking 4 hours, 11km

The first 11km-long hiking will take 4 to 5 hours and brings you to Leten Village elevated at 5105m, one of the highest habitats on earth. During this hiking, you will traverse an exuberant valley bordering Tsurphu Monastery to the west. It is interlaced by streams and and dotted with goats and yaks.( Expect to see nomadic yurts during summer.)

After crossing Karmapa Lingka, you will find the valley divides into two branches. Just follow the former direction. Do not turn left.

After one hour’ hiking, a branch greets the key river from the northwest. Stop by a yurt to enjoy a cup of steamy hot yak butter tea. Crest the ridge top 4 hours later, diving into an alpine plateau peppered with rustic huts. Camp at Leten or Batso Village.

D5 Leten to Bartso trekking 5-6 hours, 15km

Cross the Damchen Nyingtri Pass, descend a valley with lichen-coated rocks and crystal-clear streams. Arrive at the Lasar La 3 hours later. Descend into the Yangpanchen Valley and head towards Bartso. Camp near Bartso, a small village with 6 households.

Day 06 Bartso to Dorje Ling Nunnery, Trekking 4 hours, 15km

Leaving Bartso Village for Tajung Village. During the trekking, do not miss the spellbinding view of Nyenchen Tanghlha (7111m), the holiest mountain in central Tibet. Arrive at Tajung village, and ascend the gentle slopes where Tibetans picnic. Relish in the amazing vistas. At noon, arrive at Djore Ling Ani Gompa Nunnery and camp there during night. Be treated with yak meat and tea there by hospitable nuns.

Day 07 Dorje Ling Nunnery / Yangpachen Monastery / Yangpachen Hotsprings / Lhasa, trekking 4 hours, 14km

Hiking the ox-bow shaped Nyango Chu River for 3 to 4 hours. Head for Yangpachen Monastery. Landcruiser will wait for at monastery, pick up to have a hot springs at Yangbachen, and then drive back to Lhasa.
lhasa tsurpa monastery yangpanchen hiking map


Hiking Location: the north side of the Himalayas
Climate: Plateau Monsoon Semiarid Climate.
Temperature: 29°C to - 16.5°C Average temperature: 7.4°C
Rainy season: July, August and September.
Sunshine: over 3,000 hours annually.


Lhasa----Tsurphu Monastery (70km)

Take bus at:
(1) Xinxue Village Road behind the Potala Palace. Bus Schedule: 5:30 and 6:00
(2) The Jokhang Monastery: Bus Schedule: 6:00 and 7:00 One-way ticket: RMB 20 Return Ticket: RMB 35

Hire a jeep: RMB 260 to 300

Food: There is no restaurant along the trekking. You had better bring high-energy snack and food, or bring the cooking gear. Tsampa, yak butter tea and cheese can be purchased in Tibetan villages

Special Notes

(1)Chinese Visa: Apply it at the Chinese Embassy in your country

(2)Alien Travel Permit: Issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau

Independent hiking tours are forbidden in Tibet, you had better join a reliable travel agency.
Author: Sophia   Posted on Feb 13, 2014
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